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L/CPL JAMES BROWN (1986-2006)

WHERE IT HAPPENED

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This is a view looking out of the open east side of the upper post at OP Bears.  Looking east, you see Michigan Avenue and a water tower over some houses in the town of Modiq.  The shot came from one of the rooftops near the water tower.  James slumped over the 240 machine gun in the foreground and was found there approximately 12 minutes after the shot.

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James fell here, on top of the 240 machine gun

 
This is a map of the eastern side of Al Anbar province.  The red arrow marks the location of the city of Habbaniyah where James was killed.  Note that it lies between Ramadi and Fallujah, two of the most dangerous cities in Iraq for American soldiers.

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Here we see an aircraft view of the city of Habbaniyah.  The city lies on the main road from Syria into the heart of Iraq.  Iraqi troops now operate boat patrols on the Euphrates at this location to prevent IED materials from reaching Fallujah and regions to the south. 

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Immediately adjacent to the city is a large secure zone, Camp Habbaniyah, from which American forces are deployed.  It is the obvious area to the left and lower left of the city in this photo.  Note the straight and well-patrolled walls around the Camp.  James and his platoon were quartered in houses being used as observation posts outside the Camp.  Periodically, they would travel back to the Camp for several days of rest.  When James was shot, he and two other marines were standing sentry on top of an observation post about 5 miles west of the Camp. 

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Extreme danger lies immediately outside the gates of Camp Habbaniyah.  Here is a patrol route that left the camp on September 13, 2005, exiting the east gate, proceeding through the town and back into the northeast gate.  The patrol was hit by two IEDs, both set just outside the gates (marked with circles). 

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Across the canal to the south of the city is a new American-built base known as Al Taqqadum (known as "TQ" to our troops).  The Al Taqqadum base is the large facility with runways in the desert at the bottom of the image.

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After arriving at Camp Habbaniyah, members of the "3/2" (James' battalion) occupied observation posts along "Michigan Avenue", the main highway connecting Fallujah and Ramadi in the heart of Al Anbar Province.  From these "OPs", the Marines would watch the highway, stop or slow vehicles, do house to house "census" checks and patrol streets.  James was variously stationed at OP Steelers and OP Bears.  Here are photos showing the location of the OPs in relation to Camp Habbaniyah.  James was on post on the roof of OP Bears, about 5 miles west of the Camp, when he was shot.  The shot came from buildings about 300 meters southeast of OP Bears (see red dot).

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The shot came from the green-shaded area, about 150-200 meters southeast of OP Bears.

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